Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Signal to Noise

Free Wi-Fi, get your free Wi-Fi here!

I was just working on our wireless network here at New Hope, swapping out an older and slower piece of equipment for a newer and faster one. Sometimes it is hard to believe how far we've come with all this technology. I've been walking around outside for the last few minutes doing my best Verizon guy impersonation (without the annoying "can you hear me now?" part).

So I'd get 100 feet away and still be surfing the web, but turn a corner and find that I was fading out, turn another and it was "internet? What Internet?" In terms of distance from the broadcast point, I was actually closer. What gives?

Turns out I was also close to another wireless network, blasting away on the same channel.

So my poor little Thinkpad didn't know who to listen to. When I checked what was happening with a cool program for that stuff, turns out that as I got closer to the other guy's place, the "signal to noise ratio" kept dropping. Now my guess is that the higher the noise gets, the less of the signal gets through.

It dawned on me that this wasn't the first time I have faced that problem.

Churches face it all the time as they try to reach their neighbors and friends with the "signal" of the good news about Jesus. But blasting away on the same wavelength are those of us who are not living out our faith in our everyday relationships with people.

That kind of "noise" is real loud. And it can have really serious consequences. Ghandi was employed by a Christian couple when he was working on his education in South Africa. Their coldness and harsh manner with anyone who wasn't exactly like them caused him to reject Christianity even though he professed great admiration for what the teachings of Jesus said.

You probably know someone who calls all Christians hypocrites and refuses to listen. Too much noise!

So friends, we have to really focus on being like Jesus in our relationships with the people God places us in contact with. Here's a great couple of Scripture verses from the Message paraphrase to remind us.

8 Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. 9 That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless— that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing.

1 Peter 3:8-9 (MSG)
Our job - to bless those God placed around us. To Him be the glory.

Grace and peace,


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